GHANA – The government of Ghana through its development initiative, One-District-One-Factory (1D1F), has revamped the country’s largest poultry farm, Darko Farms, whose operations went under, due to major challenges that confronted the domestic poultry industry in the late 1990s.
As part of Government’s Industrial Transformation Agenda, being implemented by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Darko Farms Company was identified as one of the distressed but potentially viable companies.
As a result, the company, in 2017, applied to be part of the flagship 1-District-1-Factory initiative, and after a comprehensive review by the Technical Support Group of the Ministry, an amount of GH¢22.1 million (US$3.65m) was granted as a loan facility to the company by Ghana EXIM Bank.
The amount was earmarked to revamp the company’s operations, by upgrading the plant and equipment, retooling the hatchery, feed mill and processing facility and as working capital support.
The company has also applied part of this facility to establish an out-grower scheme, where a number of poultry farmers are supported with broiler chicks, feed as well as technical assistance to breed their birds.
Darko Farms currently has a processing plant operating at 10,000 birds per day with one shift, and 20,000 birds per day with two shifts.
It has a hatchery with capacity to produce 6-million-day-old chicks a year, breeder farms with a bird population of about 30,000 per batch, a layer farm with capacity of 100,000 per batch, and commercial broiler farms with capacity of 350,000 birds per cycle of 8 weeks.
In addition, the company has a feed mill with an installed capacity of 96 metric tons of feed per day, and a storage cold room of 500 metric tons.
Thus far, Darko Farms has created direct employment opportunities for some 250 workers, and indirectly for over 500 people, including out-growers, distributors, and transporters.
At full operational capacity, the company will directly employ more than 400 workers, with 700 being indirect employment.
Following its revamp, Darko Farms is currently engaged in negotiations with the Mohinani Group to become the major local supplier of processed chicken for Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) restaurant chain.
Mohinani Group is the parent company of Masco Foods, franchise owners of the KFC brand in Ghana.
The fried chicken outlet, through its local supplier has indicated its preparedness to off-take 100,000 birds monthly from Darko Farms under YUM certified conditions.
Having been a household name for most Ghanaians, Darko Farms products dominate most supermarkets and distribution outlets for fresh chicken particularly in Kumasi and Accra, Darko Farms.
The facility upgrade is aimed to meet the high local demand of poultry products in the West African country.
According to Business Insider, Ghana currently imports over US$ 300 million (about 180,000 mt) worth of chicken annually, or the equivalent of 5 million chickens each week.
The country’s own production equates to about 58,000 mt whereas national demand is about 400,000 mt.